Google swings its partners into new ads

In the search engine's new ad launch, an extension of its AdWords program, content-driven ads will run on third-party sites.

Google formally announced a new advertising program Tuesday that allows advertisers to place ads on the company?s partner sites.

As previously reported, the Content-Targeted Advertising program is an extension of the company?s AdWords program, which lets advertisers bid for placement on the ?sponsored listings? section of the Google page, which is based on key words a site user types into the search bar.

In the new program, Google identifies the meaning of a Web page and then automatically places relevant ads. And advertisers will now be able to place their campaigns on some of Google's partner sites.

Charter members of this new program include HowStuffWorks and Knight Ridder Digital's properties, including the San Jose Mercury News and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Google said it has already been serving ads in its existing programs from more than 100,000 advertisers on partner sites that include America Online, Ask Jeeves, EarthLink, AT&T and Yahoo Japan.

The new campaign expands Google?s foray into the advertising network market, currently the domain of companies including 24/7 Media, Avenue A and DoubleClick.

Sponsored links have been a bright spot in an otherwise dismal advertising market. Google rival Overture Services is planning to extend its sponsored-links business, and Yahoo is also eyeing that market, recently partnering with bid-for-placement ad service, Sprinks.